First off, sorry about no posts last week. I had a paper doll commission to complete (yay!) so that had to come first. It was a great project and I'll share more about it at a later time....
Today we're going to start in on my "big" lesson plan for the year: the elements of art and principles of design. This will cover several weeks and use several examples (both paper doll and other). I find the need to cycle back to basics once in a while and hopefully you will, too.
Briefly, the elements of art are the "tools" used to create an image: line, shape, form, color, tone/value, texture, and space. Principles of design are how those tools are used to create an image: repetition, movement, proportion, balance, unity, and emphasis. These are the overall composition of your image.
So let's talk about line.
Creating a line is something most of us do as very young children. It becomes the basis of drawing as well as writing, and it's a tool we use so frequently that it's hardly given a second thought. At its most basic, a line is the connection of two points in space. There are essentially two types of lines: drawn and implied.
A drawn line is just that: a mark on paper/canvas/etc. Straight, curved, thick, thin, dotted, jagged -- there are endless lines you can create.
Implied lines are less obvious. They're the line created by two objects overlapping or a horizon line in a landscape. They are less obvious but just as important as any mark. I find with my paper dolls specifically, there are few examples of implied lines.
Let's look at some lines in action.
Here's a close-up of the section above the front pear:
Do you see the lines? Of course! None of those lines were drawn, really. These are lines created by the intersection of blocks of color.
Line is also the way the eye moves through the image.
You can also use lines to convey color and texture. Cross-hatching is a technique where lines overlap to convey different shades in a monotone image. We went over it in the Shading with Pencil lesson, so I won't repeat all of that again.
So what does all this have to do with paper dolls? Plenty!
Think about the lines you're using. Do you want to use a heavy outline on your doll with finer lines for the details? That's what I did with the Kawaii Kids dolls. Those were black & white so all I had to work with were lines. Try using hatching to shade an image. I do that with pencil, but you can also do it with line patterns in Illustrator or Photoshop. Also consider line during layout. Try to create an entire composition when laying out a doll and outfits. And test your boundaries! When I create still-life paintings, I try not to have a solid line unless it's necessary. I'd like to do this with a doll sometime. Try painting a doll with watercolors or in a drawing program without outlining.
deviantArt account, Tumblr, Facebook, and you should go follow them all! Cory excels at subtlety. These Jasmine dolls use shape to convey line. There are very few actual lines in the paper dolls. But the images are clear and easy to cut around.
Rachel at Paper Thin Personas
In my opinion, that should be the goal of every paper doll -- do I want to cut it out? It's a toy! Play with it! And play around with line. I'll have a new doll up on Friday. I'll see if I can make it line themed in some way.
Anyway, go out and explore line. I know I'll be thinking about it more as I create!